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SMART error HDD partially unavailable in windows

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#1 Receptor


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Posted 09 May 2016 - 08:40 PM

I need to replace a hdd and would appreciate some advice.


On boot up I get the following error screen -



I was able to boot up and run Hard Disk Sentinel -



As you can see from the screenshot, the C drive is ok but the E drive isn’t reporting any data. The H drive is bad… but I think that is a secondary issue and not the reason for the error screen, I will be replacing that drive also though.


Using Windows Explorer I am able to see the E drive and the root folders, but any attempt to access a folder or file gives the error msg -

Location is not available

E:\ is not accessible

Access Denied


Using Disk Management the drive appears healthy -


Why is the drive inaccessible in Windows Explorer and not reporting in Hard Disk Sentinel?


The drive in question is a data drive which stores My Documents amongst other things.


OS is Windows 7 Pro.


How can I backup and replace the drive when it is inaccessible?

I would appreciate any guidance, I am trying to avoid doing anything which could increase the risk of data loss.


Thanks for your time.



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#2 hamluis



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Posted 10 May 2016 - 04:12 PM

FWIW:  I use Hard Disk Sentinel also.


What I would initially guess/hope from looking at the reported data...would be a loose or bad cable.  I've never seen a report such as yours regarding the E: partition/drive.  The partition seems good as far as being readable/recognized but your 3TB drive looks like you should move everything before doing some testing on it.


I would disconnect/reconnect the E: drive and then check whether Hard Disk Sentinel can detect it properly after reconnection.  Alternately, attach that drive to a different system (using different cable to motherboard) and see if it still is problematical.



#3 Fascist Nation

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Posted 11 May 2016 - 03:40 PM

Whoa that E drive (Drive 1)  is indeed weird.

It is recognized buy the BIOS.

It is recognized by the OS.

It is recognized by the HD Sentinel app.


Might want to disconnect the external drive since it seems to be equally flaky and might be responsible for internal drives reporting issues.

So do you care about what is on the drive...you want to recover?  Or you just want to know what is up?


I like Louis' recommendations of different port, different cable, different PC if available.  That is a good safe place to start. 


First I'd run Seatools for Windows on all Seagate drives and see what the maker's dx app has to say.  I always trust the makers app above all else.  Be ready to jot down a 3-4 digit error code if issued.  Best to set up a log file before running tests.  If there is a data recovery desired do not run any write tests and do not run any "fixes" offered without attempting backup first.  In fact, you should attempt backup before any further testing.  And either do that ASAP, or disconnect the drive from data and power until ready to try, or send off to a pro.

I presume the E: drive had data on it.  And was a working drive (single partition?).  It almost looks as if any MBR data was lost leaving the appearance of a blank NTFS formatted 2TB drive but 81% full.  I am assuming this was not GPT partitioned? That then begs the question what happened to cause that?  Could be the drive, could be some app/OS messed it up. 

If you don't care about data recovery you can try to recover with Testdisk.


edit:  I just realized you can do one more fortuitous trick on another PC (has to boot):  Drive 1 and your boot drive 0 are the same model drive.  Are they same firmware version (embossed on both boards)?  If so, you can swap the boot drive PCM (hard drive board) onto the failed drive.  If the fail is in the PCM board the drive will now work and allow recovery.  Then you can reinstall the PCM back to the boot drive.  This is why I like to buy drives in lots. 

Edited by Fascist Nation, 11 May 2016 - 04:18 PM.

#4 MadmanRB



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Posted 11 May 2016 - 05:07 PM

Eh it may be giving false positives, hard disk sentinel is known to do that

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#5 Fascist Nation

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Posted 11 May 2016 - 06:12 PM

To decrease risk of data loss:

Disconnect drive(s) immediately from power and data until ready.

If you are willing to pay for professional recovery then get their instructions and send it to them.  Doing the below lessens the chance for recovery and a can increase the expense of recovery. 

Move to PC dedicated to recovery: 

  • Single boot drive; can be small.
  • A second recovery drive bigger than drive to be recovered (ie, 2.5TB or bigger in your case) in separate channel.  Needed for ddrescue.  Put on separate channel from boot/app drive or ODD drive.
  • An optical or flash drive to use as a boot drive. 
  • 4GB or more RAM. 
  • SATA ports, preferably 6 natives (3Gbps or greater).  Up to date BIOS, chipset (INF, ME, RST), SATA, Ethernet drivers.   Up to date Windows OS (I prefer a clean install or at least a non-bogged down one).  Netframeworks 4 required (for Seatools).   Minimal peripherals. 
  • Set up BIOS to check USB, ODD and HDD in that boot order. 
  • Put bad drive (source) on channel opposite from target drive (with boot drives). 
  • PC running under UPS backup

Preload backup and recovery apps, diagnostic apps.  Practice with them until you are sure you can work quickly with them.

Were it me I would have Seatools for Windows (free), Hitachi's DFT (free) (if recovering that maker's (now HSST) drive), Macrium Reflect (free), Recuva (free), GetBackSimple for NTFS (paid if it can recover), and SystemRescueCD (boot up in RAM and use ddrescue, also note TestDisk is present).  If none can recover you are out of options. 

Object is to make a copy as fast as possible once drive is recognized.  Do one failed or questionable drive at a time. 

Order of attempts:

1.  Macrium Reflect (will only work if it recognizes there being something to copy).  If so I recommend make an image uncompressed which should be fastest unless your CPU is very powerful in which case a high compressed image will be faster transfer.  I would select verify because it costs you no time and while taking a lot longer the image copy will be present if it can be made before verify kicks in. 

2.  Recuva.  If it sees files, grab what you can.  If you are only after data files (in my Documents for example) and they don't take up much space transfer to a flash drive is faster.

3.  GetBackSimple.  The nice thing about paid recovery apps is their makers are pretty decent people.  If you do not recover what was promised they almost always give you y0our money back.  These apps don't cost any money to use.  And I have found the $60 about as reliable as the $300 ones.  Honestly most of the time if Recuva can't see it neither can these paid apps.  But you run them and they will show y0u what they see and can recover.  Explore each carefully as you want more than a directory tree being recovered.  Are the files there?  Is it worth $79?  If so, you click on a button.  It takes you to a web site where you pay and it issues a unique key.  You plug in the key and it does a one time recovery. 

4.  ddrescue.  This does not try to recover files it recovers bits.  It starts at the beginning of the drive and tries to recover every bit on the drive whether marked deleted or not.  When it gets to the end many hours or days later you have a bit image of the failing drive.  You can then do recovery procedures on the working drive's image.  ddrescue will work as fast as possible making an initial attempt to recover (read) before moving on.  Each fail, will be marked and it can come back later after rescuing as much as possible and concentrate on failed regions with more intense 3 attempts to recover the missing bits.  Once it completes the recovery phase begins if it is not already readable.  Extensive logs and verification available.  This is a method of last resort. Ina the years I have used it last year marked was the first time it worked when the others failed.

ddrescue [-options] bad_disk   good_disk (should be equal or greater size) log_file

logfile should be used as it checks log file for already recovered files and goes from there...saves time which will already be hours


fdisk -l   [list hard drives detected and names...  sd_ for SATA drives, hd_ for IDE drives]

ddrescue -n -f -v  /dev/sdb  /dev/sdc  resq.log

This will retrieve all non-damaged files and file structures first from sdb and transfer to sdc and note any failure locations in the log file (if named).  I recommend trying to transfer (backup) all files rescued at this point to another drive.  Then,

ddrescue -r3 -f -vvvv  /dev/sdb   /dev/sdc  resq.log

This will attempt to recover the damaged files three times before moving on and use the resq.log to find their location and not waste time looking.

Recovery of deleted files, VSS volume shadow system copies can be attempted with Recuva at this point.


Maker test apps can be used at this point to examine what info is present on the drives.  In case of Windows app, a log file can be written.  Get drive info, SMART info, and read tests and at this point any write tests if desired.  Usually the quickest read test is adequate.  If it fails the drive fails.  Be prepared to jot a 3-4 digit error code down.  Unfortunately some SMART testing apps will reset SMART back, and you will get a pass the next go around until some SMART value the maker deemed out of spec is tripped again.  A "fix" drive offer may stabilize the drive.  But any drive found with actual errors should be considered untrustworthy with important data.

"Fixing" can also be tried with Windows chkdsk /r command or Disk Check menu with both option boxes checked.  This can take MANY hours if the drive is error ridden.  Just let it crank.

Data Security:  If no further recovery is contemplated attempting to zero out the drive so no recover is possible by anyone is advisable before discarding drive.  This can be done by a long format (Vista and newer), Linux or Seatools has a zero function.  Fair chance it won't work if drive is unreadable.  There is also a zero command ("secure erase" and "enhanced secure erare") hardwired into all SATA drives and most IDE drives over 20GB that can be tripped with apps like hdparm (Linux boot) or HDDerase (unsupported; DOS boot).  Unfortunately different mfgs. implemented this differently so while it should work the best in reality you can't tell if it worked or not.  A better method built in uses encryption instead of erasure then overwrites the encryption key by generating a new one.

Edited by Fascist Nation, 11 May 2016 - 06:22 PM.

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